DLD2013: Social Media for Anthropologists Review

This year, in celebration of Digital Learning Day (Feb. 6), we decided to host a workshop for anthropologists on how to use social media for their research, networking and teaching. At Campus Archaeology we use social media all the time to connect with the public, to share our work and to collaborate on projects. So we know the value of having social media skills in this field. In the workshop yesterday we taught a group of graduate and undergraduate students why they should be using social media, the basics of some social media platforms, and some of the creative uses for research, networking and teaching.

Digital Learning Day Workshop in Progress, Photo by Lynne Goldstein via Twitter
Digital Learning Day Workshop in Progress, Photo by Lynne Goldstein via Twitter

The workshop began with some of the principles of maintaining an online identity, including keeping a consistent image and description of yourself across all platforms and tools, and awareness of privacy and copyright. Next we introduced some of our favorite tools for networking, research and teaching. These included Twitter, Facebook, Academia.edu, LinkedIn, Zotero, Flickr, Pinterest, and designing a personal website through platforms like WordPress or Google Sites. Then we discussed the different ways that you can use these tools for networking, research and teaching. Following this segment, the participants had a chance to play with some of the tools, set up accounts, and begin networking amongst themselves. Overall we had a great turnout and wonderful group discussion over the merits of these tools.

Some of the discussion included: how can you use social media effectively in the classroom without it being a distraction, what should I be tweeting about, how do I use visual sites like Flickr and Pinterest if my work is highly sensitive and my informants can’t be photographed, what is an appropriate photo for my account, should I use my real name or not on accounts, how do I make accounts like Facebook more professionally appropriate?

We also had some great advice from participants on how to get started using these tools and what worked for them. One stated that she didn’t know what to post on Twitter or how to interact, so she started following people in her sub-field, watched their interactions, and then when she felt comfortable joined in with them. Another mentioned the benefit of having a personal website as a homespace that all other accounts and social media tools could point to, and how it serves as a more expanded CV.

It was a very successful Digital Learning Day, and hopefully the participants will be able to put their new digital skills to use!


Author: Katy Meyers Emery

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